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Edes: Yankees and big-city pressure await Astros in AL wild-card clash

Houston knows all about the Yankee Stadium mystique heading into Tuesday's winner-takes-all tilt. But don't expect Dallas Keuchel and the Astros to be intimidated on the grand stage.

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Stark: My World Series prediction

Our guy Jayson Stark doesn't have the best track record when it comes to predicting who will win the World Series. But this year is different. We promise!

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2015 MLB postseason

Keep track of every MLB playoff game and series, from the wild-card round through the World Series.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Matthews: A-Rod, Yanks are in this together

In leading his team's return to the playoffs, Alex Rodriguez has won back the fans, his teammates, his manager -- and even the Yankees' front office.

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Scott Spratt

Spratt: The breakout MLB defenders of 2015

Scott Spratt lays out the breakout defenders of 2015, one at each position in each league; it's a nice blend of young stars (including Kevin Kiermaier) and veterans (Francisco Cervelli).

Keuchel keeps the ball down (0:58)
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Kurkjian: Five NL wild-card questions

The NL wild-card game features an intriguing matchup: leading Cy Young Award candidate Jake Arrieta vs. the forgotten man, Gerrit Cole.

Arrieta confident in game plan (0:56)
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Who's this year's Madison Bumgarner?

Last year, San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner turned in one of the most dominant postseason pitching performances in MLB history. Who is most likely to be this year's MadBum? Our experts rank the contenders.

AP Photo/Rob Carr

It happened in October ...

From Babe Ruth's called shot to Bill Buckner's error, no month features more thrills and agony than this one. We chronicle 31 epic October moments, including Roy Halladay's no-hitter.


Power Rankings: Cards, Jays rule the roost

Will Cardinals-Blue Jays be this year's World Series matchup? If our final rankings of the season are any indication, that's what you could see come late October.

Greeny: Theo Epstein is a Hall of Famer (1:14)
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Schoenfield: Ultimate October Blueprint

Congrats, your team is headed to the postseason. But does the style of play that got it there work under the bright lights of October? David Schoenfield examines the formula for playoff success.


Gordon Edes ESPN Staff Writer 

For what it's worth, Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel is 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA with umpire Eric Cooper calling balls and strikes, with 23 strikeouts and 2 walks. Cooper has never worked a game behind the plate for Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka. Stats courtesy of Baseball-reference.com

Yanks enter wild-card game in funk

New York finished with six losses in its last seven games and barely hung on to home field of tonight's game (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). Will the Yanks squash the concept of momentum or end a solid season unceremoniously?


Gordon Edes @GordonEdes

Here's reason for Jays fans to worry: ESPN's "experts," which includes yours truly, unanimously picked Jays to beat Rangers in div. series.

A World Series prediction sure to go wrong

Jayson Stark doesn't have the best track record when it comes to predicting World Series winners. But this year has to be different. Doesn't it? Sorry, Toronto

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Keuchel's road game isn't the same

Dallas Keuchel's Cy Young candidacy rests on his insane numbers at home. He was pedestrian on the road, which is where he'll be tonight vs. the Yankees (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Carlos Correa: Same game, bigger stage

Despite the season being at stake, the Astros rookie SS said he's going to treat today's game like any other: "I gotta go out there and try to perform, not try too much because I'll end up doing nothing." And win or lose, he's still going to eat ice cream.


Grantland: Splitting hairs for Cy Young

Jonah Keri is going with Clayton Kershaw in the NL because he struck out 301 batters in 232.2 innings -- the highest single-season strikeout rate for any qualified starter ever not named Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson. Other award picks

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Gordon Edes ESPN Staff Writer 

Carlos Correa=a young A-Rod? Astros manager A.J. Hinch is not a big fan of that comparison, or any, for that matter. "I heard Cal Ripken. I heard (Troy) Tulowitzki. I heard Jeter and A-Rod. All we've ever wanted him to be is Carlos Correa," Hinch said of his 21-year-old shortstop. "I don't expect him to do anything more than his best, and his best is really good. And whether that's going to below A-Rod's career, even to A-Rod's career, or exceed A-Rod's career is going to be played out over the next two decades."

Player to watch: Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod revitalized his career with a 33-HR campaign in his first post-suspension action. Now he looks to get over his playoffs struggles. A-Rod's .187 slugging percentage in the playoffs since 2010 is the lowest for any player (min. 50 plate appearances).


yankees @yankees

@AROD gets locked in before tonight’s AL #WildCard Game.

Player to watch: Carlos Correa

The Astros made the rookie their starting shortstop in early June, and he responded by setting a franchise record for homers in a season by a SS (22). He can also get it done with the glove.


Sport Science: Correa's hitting mechanics

Sport Science examines the well-balanced, quick-handed swing of Astros rookie SS Carlos Correa.


Gordon Edes ESPN Staff Writer 

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he is not without concerns, given that center fielder Carlos Gonez is not fully recovered from his strained intercostal muscle, but he still wanted him on his lineup card. Gomez will be hitting sixth. "He's bouncing around the clubhouse ready to play...This was the time to do it. I just told him to give us your best and we'll gauge where that is, but there's no doubt he can be an electrifying force."

espn @espn

October is a week old, but it really begins tonight. Astros. Yankees. Playoffs. Live on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

The 9 Astros starters tonight made $27,859,980 this season. Jacoby Ellsbury made $21,142,857 with the Yankees. He's not starting.

Andrew Marchand ESPN Senior Writer 

Jacoby Ellsbury, who is not starting tonight's wild card game, spoke to the media for 31 seconds after batting practice. Ellsbury said he told manager Joe Girardi he wants to play, but he seemed content with the manager's decision. Ellsbury is finishing the second season of a seven-year, $153 million contract.

Harvey apologizes for missing workout

ESPN New York reporter Adam Rubin explains why Mets ace Matt Harvey was absent from a mandatory team practice on Tuesday and what happens next.


Which A-Rod will the Yankees get?

Will Alex Rodriguez carry New York to a memorable postseason run like he did in 2009 or struggle mightily at the plate like he did from 2010-12?

Stats & Info

Is The Wild Card System Broken?

The FiveThirtyEight podcast crew says there is likely too much randomness in the MLB postseason structure.


Astros came from the very, very bottom

When watching the AL wild-card game tonight (8 p.m. ET on ESPN), keep in mind that between 2011 and 2013, Houston combined for a 162-324 record. But now the Astros are back in the postseason for the first time since 2005.